Article Abstract

Complications following single-level interbody fusion procedures: an ACS-NSQIP study

Authors: Jamal N. Shillingford, Joseph L. Laratta, Joseph M. Lombardi, John D. Mueller, Meghan Cerpa, Hemant P. Reddy, Comron Saifi, Charla R. Fischer, Ronald A. Lehman Jr


Background: Controversy exists over the ability of various lumbar interbody fusion techniques to realign global and regional balance and their effect on patient outcomes. This is a retrospective cohort study to compare thirty-day postoperative outcomes between anterior and posterior interbody fusion techniques within a large national database.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study utilizing the NSQIP database included 2,372 (29.9%) single-level anterior/direct lateral interbody fusions (ALIF/DLIF) and 5,563 (70.1%) single-level posterior/transforaminal interbody fusions (PLIF/TLIF) between 2013 and 2014. Emergent cases, fracture cases, and preoperative compromised wounds were not analyzed. Primary thirty-day outcomes included mortality, return to operating room, readmission, length of stay, and other major complications. Minor outcomes included urinary tract infection, superficial incisional site infection, and perioperative blood transfusion within 72 hours.
Results: ALIF/DLIF was performed more for degenerative lumbar disc disease (31.0% vs. 13.9%, P<0.001), whereas PLIF/TLIF was utilized more for spondylolisthesis (19.1% vs. 24.4%, P<0.001). Thirty-day mortality was significantly higher with ALIF/DLIF (0.3% vs. 0.1%, P=0.021) in the univariate analysis and persisted in the multivariate analysis (OR =12.8; 95% CI, 1.37–119.6; P=0.025). Significantly more PLIF/TLIF patients required blood transfusions within 72 hours of surgery (9.6% vs. 7.6%, P=0.005). This difference did not persist in the multivariate analysis after controlling for covariates. Elevated ASA physical status classification, age >60, prior bleeding disorder, and preoperative anemia were significantly associated with blood transfusion requirement. More deep venous thrombosis occurred (DVT) with ALIF/DLIF compared to PLIF/TLIF (1.0% vs. 0.6%, P=0.025), which persisted in the multivariate analysis (OR =2.03; 95% CI, 1.13–3.65; P=0.017).
Conclusions: Although numerous techniques can be utilized in the treatment approach to various lumbar pathologies, anterior approaches have an increased risk of developing a perioperative DVT and early mortality. Transfusion risk is more strongly associated with elevated ASA class, increased age, preoperative anemia, and patients with bleeding disorders.